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07-06-2018 | Electric Vehicles | News | Article

Henning: "Sector Coupling is Essential"

Patrick Schäfer

Expanding electric mobility requires a suitable system for powering electric cars as well. Industry experts have convened in Berlin to discuss the current status of grid integration of electric mobility.

Electric mobility is picking up speed. However, "a breakthrough in electric mobility cannot be expected until products interact perfectly with infrastructure, which is exactly what this conference is about". With these words Dr. Johannes Liebl, Editor-in-Chief of ATZ, MTZ and ATZelektronik, and Xaver Pfab from BMW opened the 2018 international AZT conference, entitled "Grid Integration of Electric Mobility", to an audience of almost 100 participants. "We are trying to optimise this interaction by bringing the industries together – the automotive industry, energy suppliers, data services and the world of politics", said Liebl, explaining the objective of the conference, which is being held for the third time in cooperation with BMW i and BridgingIT. Crucial questions in this context include: How are the power transmission grids designed? Can peak-load situations be covered? Is there an overall plan that accounts for all interrelationships from power generation through to the charging station and that can serve as a basis for deriving required investments?

Professor Dr. Hans-Martin Henning, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, devoted his opening keynote speech to addressing these questions. He emphasised in his presentation that there are no technical reasons standing in the way of transforming the power system. All system stability issues seem solvable, which is not to say that there is not a lot more research and development work left to do, according to Henning. The electricity demand would increase, however, the reason being that decarbonising sectors such as heating and mobility, where the use of fossil fuels still predominates, would be possible only by increasing the share of electrical power in these sectors ("sector coupling"). This could increase Germany’s net electrical power consumption from around 500 TWh today to 750 to 1,000 TWh in 2050, depending on the respective general conditions. The scientist states that electricity would become the most important energy carrier, and photovoltaics and wind the dominating electrical power sources. "Sector coupling is essential; this approach won’t work without it”, says Henning.

Electric mobility needs standardisation

It won’t work without standards either. "Electric mobility needs standardisation and specifications", emphasises Dr. Michael Stephan, head of the Standardization Division at DIN, in his presentation. They are needed to enhance safety and practicality, as well as to avoid unnecessary variants and to lower costs. DIN regards itself as Germany’s point of contact for all queries relating to electric mobility.

Dr. Sabrina Weithmann, consultant at Weithmann & Partner, describes the standardisation situation for electric mobility in China. She said that while China had greatly increased its involvement in standardisation on the national and international levels in recent years, the standardization system is still a work in progress and the sectors are developing at different rates and to different extents. Weithmann concludes that established players and leaders in the field of standardisation should therefore be even more interested in working with China in matters of standardisation to benefit mutually from China’s transformation.

The 3rd international ATZ conference, Grid Integration of Electric Mobility, is being held in Berlin from 5 to 6 June 2018.

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